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Big Satellite Systems, Simulated On Your Desktop (sf.net) 44

An anonymous reader writes: Big systems of hundreds of satellites are under development to provide wireless Internet globally, with Richard Branson's OneWeb and Thales' LeoSat aiming at consumers and business markets respectively. It's like reliving the late 1990s, when Bill Gates' Teledesic and Motorola's Celestri were trying to do the same thing before merging their efforts and then giving up. And now you can simulate OneWeb and LeoSat for yourself, and compare them to older systems, in the new release of the vintage SaVi satellite simulation package, which was created in the 1990s during the first time around. Bear in mind Karl Marx's dictum of history: the first time is tragedy, and the second time is farce. Do these new systems stand a chance?
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Big Satellite Systems, Simulated On Your Desktop

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Farewell soulskill. So they fired him, how about the others? I can't confirm, only soulskill. Kinda sad at least Dice didn't do layoffs. They were around for so long.

  • and the second time is farce,

    obviously the third time's a charm

    • So much for the mantra of "try try try again" - we failed twice, fuck it, its too embarrassing to try any more because we might be violating some bullshit that Karl Marx spouted a hundred and fifty years ago.

  • Whatever it be. Branson hopes it won't turn out to be a 'winner takes all' market. Branson does not want to be in one. On the contrary if its a 'losers only market', I don't think he would have a problem with that. After all, Virgin Atlantic was bleeding until recently.

  • install Kerbal Space Program and do lots more besides watch hyperedited satellite constellations appear as green blocks right before the BHOs take over your desktop.

  • Karl Marx's dictum of history: the first time is tragedy, and the second time is farce

    And the third, fourth, and fifth time is our Middle East policy.

  • by thinkwaitfast ( 4150389 ) on Monday February 01, 2016 @06:21AM (#51412721)
    70% of the capability these systems will be unused when over water and/or the polar regions. Generally paying customers are grouped together in small dense areas, that is what they found out with iridium. And small dense areas are mostly now served by cell networks.
    • by ihtoit ( 3393327 ) on Monday February 01, 2016 @07:01AM (#51412791)

      you conveniently missed out the fact that these satellites are part of a dynamic mesh network, which are in a state of continuous reconfiguration to provide 100% coverage. What this means, is that even when a satellite is flying over the middle of the South Pacific, it's still providing a bridge between New Zealand and Peru by connecting two satellites either side of it.

      Ergo, no satellite is ever idle as long as the network is in use *anywhere*.

      • I didn't miss out (I even interview with them back in the early 90's). The point is that you have to build a very expensive infrastructure for very low populations of users and is better (economically) to provide some spot coverages.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          That's like saying GPS is useless.

          GPS is stupidly valuable and most of those are dumb nodes with timers that get synced up a few times a day because drag. (and the occasional blacklist when that one sat failed earlier in the month, RIP)

          Having universal access, even IF it is horribly slow 56k speeds, is something we should strive for as a species.
          The internets usefulness outweighs the cost needed for basic access to it.
          Even in "underdeveloped" countries it can still be useful, especially for learning. (of

      • How much traffic do New Zealand and Peru exchange every day? Sure, you can have that bridge across the ocean...but at what cost? Just look at one of those night satellite photos that shows all the splashes of light in the world, and build your satellites near them. That's where your traffic will originate and terminate.
        • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

          that would require geostationary orbits, which excludes anything North of 55 and anything south of -55. That's a significant chunk if the inhabitable surface.

  • According to the README, this still supports SGI IRIX! I'm going to fire up my Octane and give it a test run!

  • These systems are designed in a way that you can not sell service to a single customer until you are 80% complete, that means spending 900 Billion dollars to launch all those satellites and install all your ground station equipment before the FIRST customer can even be sold service.

    What is needed is just a couple of Geosync birds over the USA and start having real competition to Hughesnet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not quite true, you can't sell CONTINUAL service until you're almost complete, however there is no reason why this kind of system would not be able to sell intermittent service, say for remote weather/sea stations, ships, etc until they're completely up and running. Also your $900 billion is a "bit" off, even at current launch rates SpaceX could launch around 18,000 Falcon 9s for that much. Even the most audacious plans only put a few thousand satellites in orbit and most of those are probably launched in

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      When Wildblue started they were renting space on the Anik f2 satellite.

      Then they launched wildblue 1 which iirc was rated for 300k users. Its called Exede now owned by viasat. hughesnet owned by echostar has been around longer and had not been increasing their speeds until wildblue entered the market.

      The US already has two large satellite internet providers I doubt anyone else will try to enter the market If the sirus xm deal was any indication there will probably be only one satellite internet provider in

      • I work for a business that installs exede, hughes, and directv. I must say I don't understand why someone would pay $60 for 10gbs a month at 12mbps. I was recently scolded for telling customers the truth. Sales are more important than happy customers after all.
        • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

          I was paying $79.99/mo for 1.5mbps/0.256mbps about 10 years ago through wildblue with a 17GB down and 5 GB upload limit. Also over limit was limited to 64kbps and more than 3 over limits in a calender year resulted in termination of service

          Its nice to see overall capacity hasn't improved in the last 10 years.

          Live in the sticks? I recommend you check this list in order.

          Can you get any wired broadband service?
          Fiber/cable/dsl
          Can you get any wireless broadband service?
          Wisp/cellular
          Can you see the sky?
          Satellite.

  • by dixonpete ( 1267776 ) on Monday February 01, 2016 @09:07AM (#51413183)
    If Elon Musk's SpaceX can use recyclable rockets to toss satellites into orbit for the cost of fuel he'll have a huge leg up compared to competitors.
    • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

      won't happen. His long term goal is 6 hour turnaround (48h more realistic) at a cost of US$54million. Before you even start talking about cost to fuel, cleanrooming the payload, mounting and all the rest of it. He's already got turnaround down to a month but the cost to do that, since it is still in the learning curve stage (and replacing the major systems so they can analyse launch stresses on eg the engine bells), is on par with the SLS.

  • It takes a while for radio to reach orbit

Two percent of zero is almost nothing.

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